Lockheed wins $5.3 billion contract for C-130J aircraft

A U.S. Air Force (USAF) Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules aircraft takes part in a flying display during the 49th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

(Reuters) - U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corp said on Thursday it would deliver a total of 78 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the U.S. government as part of a multiyear contract, worth $5.3 billion.

The U.S. Department of Defense said on Wednesday that it had already awarded $1 billion in funding for the first 32 aircraft.

The company said it would deliver the planes between 2016 and 2020.

Lockheed said in October it had reached a verbal agreement with the U.S. Air Force for a five-year contract to build up to 83 C-130J transport planes for the Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.

The Super Hercules planes can touch down on austere landing zones - essentially makeshift runways - and are often used for humanitarian relief missions and special operations.

Lockheed has delivered 60 Super Hercules aircraft to the U.S. Air Force and U.S Marine Corps from 2003-2008 under a previous contract.

Lockheed shares were little changed at $218.10 in afternoon trading on Thursday. Up to Wednesday’s close, the stock had risen about 14 percent this year, compared with 4.3 percent rise in Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva